THE race to beat Ryanair's soaring prices was more intense than any race to the Aras.
But I trounced Michael O'Leary, fair and square.
John Delaney and the other FAI boys had no sooner burst into smiles at being drawn against Estonia, than I was online to get my flights.
And I was clearly ahead of the airlines.
Within minutes, I had my flights including all the extras for a bargain €169. If you left it until later to book yours, you'll know it cost multiples of that.
So how did I do it?
As soon as Zbigniew Boniek plucked the Republic of Ireland from his glass bowl the search began.
Time is money and Ryanair and the other airlinesknow it. The no-frills airline flies to the Estonian capital of Tallinn on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the normal return rate around €40 before Michael O'Leary extras.
Confirmation that Estonia would be our play-off rivals on Friday, November 11 was greeted with smiles and applause in the Herald newsroom.
The grins weren't quite as wide as John Delaney's but nonetheless it was clear that avoiding Turkey and Croatia was a big bonus for Ireland.
The one man smiling more broadly than anyone had to be Michael O'Leary.
Tallinn just happens to be one of the quirky locations that they fly directly to from Dublin. Jackpot for O'Leary and Co.
By this morning the standard Thursday to Tuesday package had sky-rocketed to €360 -- even before the extras such as baggage.
Never one to miss a trick, Ryanair added flights on Friday and Saturday to catch the supporters without time to take a few days sightseeing. That 24 hours in Tallinn comes with a price tag of almost €400.
You can't blame them for providing a service that nobody else does, but hundreds of Irish supporters are likely to go in search of alternative routes.
Boats from Helsinki, cross-country from Latvia or plane hopping from England, perhaps. Not for me.
I'll be flying from Dublin on the Tuesday with good old Ryanair and home via Liverpool on the Sunday with Easyjet and Ryanair.
Now, with just 1,400 tickets available for the A Le Coq Arena clash , all I need is a match ticket...